Medical & Cosmetic Dermatology & Dermatopathology located in Wheat Ridge, CO
Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer that kills nearly 10,000 adults and children in the United States every year. If you notice signs of melanoma on yourself or your child, call Elevation Dermatology in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, to schedule an immediate appointment At Elevation Dermatology. When detected early, melanoma can be successfully treated, with a 99% survival rate after five years. To schedule an examination or to book a skin cancer screening or consultation, call the office or use the online appointment tool.
What is melanoma?
Melanoma is a rare, but deadly, type of skin cancer. Melanoma grows relatively quickly, and can quickly spread to the brain, lungs, and other organs. Melanoma can occur anywhere on the body and often looks like a benign mole when it first appears.
Left untreated, melanoma can be fatal. However, if melanoma is diagnosed and treated in the first year, the average rate of survival after five years is 99%.
Am I at risk for melanoma?
Anyone can develop melanoma, but it occurs more often in people with fair skin. You may also have an increased risk if you’re over the age of 50, have had skin cancer in the past, or you have a family member who has had skin cancer.
Other risk factors include:
- Frequent sunburns
- A large (100+) number of moles
- Irregularly shaped moles
- Compromised immune function
- Exposure to UV light from sunlight or tanning beds
If you have a family history of melanoma, your children also have an increased risk for the disease and should be regularly screened for skin cancer.
What are the symptoms of melanoma?
Melanomas often appear on areas that receive frequent exposure to sunlight, like the face, back, legs, and arms. However, melanoma can occur on any part of the body, including places that have very little sun exposure, like the bottoms of your feet.
It’s a good idea to examine your own body regularly for melanoma. Use the following ABCDE guide to melanoma signs.
- A — asymmetric (each side of the mole looks different)
- B — borders are irregular, notched, or scalloped
- C — colors that are uneven, with a variety of shades (brown, black, blue, red or white)
- D — diameter larger than ¼ inch
- E — evolving shape, color, size, itching, bleeding, or other changes
If you notice any new moles that look different from other moles or just areas of skin that seem unusual, you should schedule and appointment At Elevation Dermatology for an evaluation.
How is melanoma diagnosed and treated?
Examining your own skin, and periodic skin cancer screenings, help detect melanoma in its early stages. A skin biopsy is usually performed to diagnose melanoma conclusively.
We ae experts diagnostician. We personally reviews your skin biopsy under a microscope, for precise diagnosis. If she determines that you have melanoma, she will perform surgery to remove it. This is an in-office procedure, using a local anesthetic.
Late-stage melanoma may require a refferal to Oncology for additional work up and treatment.
If determined that you have melanoma, a wide local excision may be performed.